On Tour with Prism Book Tours
The Happiness Pact
by Liz Flaherty
Paperback & ebook, 384 pages
December 1st 2017 by Harlequin Heartwarming
The fine line between BFF and happily-ever-after…
Tucker Llewellyn and Libby Worth—strictly platonic!—realize they’re each at a crossroads. Tucker is successful, but he wants a wife and kids: the whole package. Libby knows that small-town life has her set in her ways; the tearoom owner needs to get out more.
So they form a pact: Libby will play matchmaker and Tucker will lead her on the adventure she desperately needs. But the electricity Libby feels when they shake on it should be a warning sign. Soon the matchmaking mishaps pile up, and a personal crisis tests Libby’s limits. Will Tucker be there for her as a best friend…or something more?
CHAPTER ONE, Part 4
Libby gave the question some thought. “I’d like to go skiing. I’ve never done that. I mean—it is winter.”
“I noticed that. The snow was a dead giveaway.” He nodded, his lips pursed as if he were in deep thought. “What else?”
“Parasailing. Zip-lining. Niagara Falls. Go to a casino with a whole two hundred dollars I don’t mind losing. Can you imagine that? I’ve whined over a twenty before.” She leaned in close again and whispered into his good ear. “Skinny-dipping. Of course, I’d wear a swimsuit, because I wouldn’t want to scare the fish or anything.”
He squinted at her. “It’s not skinny-dipping if you wear a swimsuit.”
She straightened, offended. “It is if I say it is.”
He started to answer but must have thought better of it and nodded.
“What’s your birthday wish?” She took a drink of coffee, reflecting that it tasted better than the chocolate had. Maybe she wasn’t meant to drink alcohol. Although that buzz—which was already settling down into a quiet little hum—was kind of fun.
“You won’t believe me.”
He shrugged. “Okay. But I’ve never told anyone this.” He raised a peremptory finger. “Don’t laugh, either. You know how easily I cry.”
She snorted. She could count on one hand the times she’d seen him cry, not counting when they were in the same room in nearby Sawyer Hospital’s newborn nursery—and anything she said about that would be pure conjecture. The last time had been at Arlie and Jack’s impromptu engagement party only a few days before. Libby had been the one who brought him to tears, and she’d loved it. “Let’s hear it, big boy. Your secret will be safe with me.”
After clearing his throat, finishing his coffee and clearing his throat again, he said, “I want to get married. I want to have a kid. I want to buy a house that’s just a house—you know, four bedrooms, two baths and a basketball hoop in the driveway. With a garage that’s too full of sports equipment and garden tools to get the cars in it.”
She stared at him, aghast. “You have the Alba…the Hall. It’s a mansion. Why do you want a house?”
“You can call it the Albatross—Jack and I do. We both hate it, but I’m the one stuck living in it since Grandmother died in the spring. We’re thinking about selling the whole estate. That’s what I wanted to talk to Marie about this morning—she’s a Realtor.”
“Oh.” Libby was a little pleased by that, although she couldn’t have said why. “So, why don’t you do all that? You’re rich. You always have a beautiful girlfriend. Or more than one.” She grinned at him. “You know where babies come from.”
“No.” His voice was quiet suddenly. Serious. “I want to love somebody, Lib. I don’t have to be completely over-the-top about it, but I want to care about someone and have a family with her. I want her to care about me and having kids and maybe planting flowers. Someone’s gotta use those garden tools in the garage.” He smiled as widely and charmingly as ever, but his eyes remained solemn. “I’m thirty-four—no one knows that any better than you, since you’re even older than I am—and if I’m going to umpire my kids’ baseball games, I need to do it before my knees give out. I don’t want to wait on the kid thing.”
About the Author
Liz Flaherty was a little nervous about retiring from her day job, but making quilts, more family time, traveling at the mere mention of “why don’t we go…” and becoming a Harlequin Heartwarming author have made the past years more fun and exciting than she could ever have imagined.
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